IN RECENT months I’ve sent money to José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen. I’ve donated to The Actors Fund and the AARP Foundation. I’ve ordered takeout meals in order to support a few local businesses. I’ve increased my support for Wikipedia, my more-than-daily info go-to.
I point this out just so you don’t think I’m some heartless, totally self-absorbed Boomer creep who sees the lockdown as simply an opportunity to spend more quality time with her mail-order catalogues. Okay, maybe I am. But I’m hoping you won’t sneer at the source of my new “spark joy” (thank you, Marie Kondo) project, my Critter Bar.
Remember the space alien bar in the first Star Wars movie? Well, this isn’t that. But I’ve taken to calling it my Critter Bar anyway.
Like most collections, it started innocently, in this case five or six years ago at an open-air quayside market in Helsinki. That’s where I bought an aluminum-maybe-pewter-but-I-doubt-it jigger with a moose head on it—a handsome beast who has eluded me in Finland, Canada and Maine. So now he’s barside, albeit usually standing on that proud head of his.
Then this past winter I noticed that CB2, Crate and Barrel’s little sister, was offering a little bar tray with the markings of an alligator hide embossed on the metal surface, and the tray had little feet! Well, I stand behind no one in my admiration for alligators, even if I did sell my Barry Kieselstein-Cord alligator ear clips on The RealReal last year. Nearby, CB2 was selling a big beetle bottle opener. I haven’t wrestled with a bottle cap in years, but it just made sense, in a critter sort of way.
CB2 must see something in the zeitgeist that calls for more reptiles ’cause just last month they offered little alligator cheese knives, three to a set. Yes, dear Reader, of course I bought them.
But my major catch—and the design seems to be several years old—is from the metal master Michael Aram. It’s a tall, slender steel bar pitcher; what you don’t realize at first because of the scale is that the brass handle is . . . a praying mantis.
With my little bar populated by all these critters, there’s little room for glasses or bottles of wine or liquor (not to worry, there’s a lower shelf). So maybe I will call it quits for now. Unless, of course, Nancy Gonzalez, who makes all those great crocodile handbags (guilty!), comes up with something else reptilian in a bar-able vein.
P.S. This just in: Perigold is featuring a three-foot-tall resin and brass alligator standing on its hind feet and holding an oval drinks tray. It’s by Maitland-Smith and costs $1,450 and therefore a no-go for me, but I thought you might like to know. On the other hand, the silicone ice-cube trays in the shape of ‘gators I just found on Amazon ($13.99) may be just the thing to round out the critter theme.
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